“STEM” Project Learners in South Africa Shine with their Matric Results

14 MAY 2024

Illovo Sugar South Africa (ISSA) and many school learners under its Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) programme at a number of adopted schools in KwaZulu-Natal have good reason to be ‘over the moon’ post the release of the South African matric results earlier this year, with two students having just been awarded company bursaries to complete their studies.

ISSA has for several years, administered a Maths and Science project for Grades 10, 11 and 12 (matric) at four high schools close to its operations in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands and the south coast of South Africa. The intention is to continue improving maths and science results of the learners at these schools, in order to enable them to pursue careers which in time to come, may eventually benefit ISSA.

Top achievers in Illovo’s STEM class programme in 2024 are from left, Zanele Maphumulo at Sihle High School; Kwazi Mdubeki at Lamontville High School and Sphesihle Sibisi at Sihle High School.

And just announced is that Zanele (top left) has just won a bursary from the company to pursue a BSc in Agricultural Science at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, while Amahle Thabede (not pictured) has won a bursary to pursue a Diploma in Chemical Engineering at Mangosuthu University of Technology.

Says Malithatwe Nombewu, ISSA’s Communications and Social Impact Manager: “ISSA invests a significant amount of time and effort into this project, so we were keen to see what this year’s matric results would reveal, and our schools did not disappoint! Gobizembe School from KwaSwayimane near Noodsberg recorded a 92% pass rate; Lamontville High at Merebank achieved 81%, Mabomvini from Eston recorded a 96% pass rate and Sihle from the Sezela area celebrated a pass rate of 85%. With the exception of Sihle, all three schools’ results were an improvement on previous years,” said Malithatwe.

In addition to the school’s overall pass rate, their maths and science results in particular also improved, with the exception of Lamontville. Says Malithatwe: “The kind of improvements we are seeing are exactly what we hoped this STEM project would achieve. We are very encouraged by the progress.”

Assistance provided to the schools via the Illovo project includes extra maths and science classes on Saturdays, teacher workshops and science experiments. “It’s a significant effort and the results speak for themselves,” says Malithatwe, adding that a total of 172 learners from the four schools achieved Bachelors’ passes.

Managing Director of Illovo South Africa, Ricky Govender, said: “We are extremely happy for and proud of both Zanele Maphumulo and Amahle Thabede who have won our two top bursaries for 2024. I also want to say the commitment shown by our implementing partner ScienceCEO, teachers, parents and, of course of all our students, has brought us these results. We are so proud. We want to enable these learners to reach their full potential and to go back to their communities to do well; maybe even join the ISSA executive team at some point in the future!”